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Catalog Data

Beato, Felice, b. ca. 1825  Search this
1 Print (albumen, image 26 x 30 cm., mounted 38 x 41 cm.)
Box 3
Box 4
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Albumen prints
Lucknow (India)
Lucknow (India) -- History -- Siege, 1857
Sikandar Garden (Lucknow, India)
India -- Uttar Pradesh -- Lucknow
circa 1858
Scope and Contents:
One albumen print by Felix Beato, mounted on card, with "Lucknow. Inside the Secunderabagh Shewing [sic] where 2600 Sepoys were Killed" inscribed in black ink below the print. View taken circa 1858 of the interior of the Sikandar Garden, with skeletal remains strewn across the grounds.
One flat box.
Biographical / Historical:
Although he was born in Greece, Felice Beato worked as a press photographer in England and achieved recognition for his coverage of British political conflicts, photographing the Crimean War of 1855 and, together with his brother-in-law, James Robertson, the 1858 Indian Mutiny in Delhi and Lucknow. After moving to Yokohama in 1863, Beato opened the area's first photography studio and documented the people and culture of Japan for the next twenty years, taking photographs and selling them to tourists. During his travels, Beato was able to gain access to Japanese ports that were open only to diplomats by acting as an official photographer for the British navy.
The Sikandar Garden is a villa and garden complex located on the outskirts of Lucknow, which was the capital of the former state of Oudh (now spelt Awadh, and a region in the state of Uttar Pradesh), in India. The prolonged defense in Lucknow by the British proved to be one of the key episodes in the unsuccessful Indian Rebellion of 1857-1858. During the siege of the city, the Sikandar (or Secundra) Garden was used as a refuge by hundreds of sepoys who were under attack by British troops. On November 16, 1857, the villa was overrun and approximately 2000 sepoys were killed. After the fighting, the British dead were buried in a deep trench but the Indian dead were left to rot. In early 1858 Beato took this well-known photograph, possibly the first photographic depiction of human corpses, although there is some controversy over whether he had some of the corpses disinterred for dramatic effect.
Local Numbers:
FSA A1999.27
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Albumen prints
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives